How to become a 4×4 Instructor

4×4 Instructor Courses:

Training to be a 4×4 or Off Road Instructor is something that many recreational offroaders think will lead to their dream job, and many candidates on off-road courses are interested in whether they could become instructors themselves.

I felt that I needed to write this page as I wanted to make sure that people really understood what the legalities and realities are surrounding 4×4 instruction.

There are a lot of 4×4 instructor courses out there which claim to qualify you as a “Fully Certified 4×4 Off-Road Instructor”. While these courses may give you experience in driving off-road and some help with how to show a novice what to do in certain situations, they do not licence you to do it as a job.

Professional off-road instructors have a sound basis in instructional techniques, excellent knowledge of the H&S legislation surrounding driving at work and full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the whole range of 4×4 vehicles.

In order to train anyone in how to use a 4×4 (on road or off) you should first qualify as a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor (DVSA ADI). If you are not a DVSA ADI and you offer instruction in a category B vehicle (any 4×4 effectively) for money (or money’s worth) then strictly speaking, you may be breaking the law ( and BORDA, LANTRA and RoSPA run 4×4 Instructor qualification processes, though if you are not an ADI these may only be relevant if you intend to instruct on a voluntary basis. Charging for instruction, or using the qualifications as part of a job is not recommended without being a DVSA registered ADI. (see the 2013 correspondence I received from the DSA regarding the legality of 4×4 instruction.)

Though some training providers may argue there are legal grey areas, as this has not yet been tested in court (I have no intention of being involved in any such test case), I feel that there is significant legal guidance on this issue.

Currently, Lantra-Awards, NPTC, RoSPA and BORDA are all aware of the issue surrounding category B vehicle instruction and Approved Driving Instructor registration. None of these organisations are currently insisting that their instructors are ADIs. Some accreditation bodies quote various exemptions, however, none of them have been given specific exemptions from the legislation above.

I feel that it is essential that 4×4 trainers meet the simple, but rigorous, criteria that DVSA registration requires of instructors.

If you want any clarification on the requirements, I have found that asking the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – the government organisation who administer the register of Approved Driving Instructors for written guidance will provide a clear answer.

Have a look at some more information on who LANTRA, BORDA and the DVSA are.

If you are interested in becoming a 4×4 instructor, have a look at one of my blogs:

Training to be a 4×4 instructor – this article outlines all of the stages that I and colleagues went through in order to become off-road instructors – a long and expensive process.

The job itself is great, but there’s much more importance placed on Health & Safety and risk assessments than throwing 4x4s off cliffs. Professional operators need to know exactly what they should be doing with reference to all of the relevant legislation. Off-roader drivers need to know all of the relevant techniques to ensure that they don’t kill themselves or anyone else!

Qualifications required:

  • 5 years off-road driving experience
  • Wide knowledge of transmissions, differentials and other fitted equipment on a variety of different vehicles
  • Instructional techniques (for those not qualified as ADIs, a PTLLS certificate or similar is ideal)
  • First Aid qualification
  • H&S qualification (ideally level two, such as the IOSH Managing Safely qualification)
  • Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor registration (unless working outside the UK, with the MOD, or as a volunteer trainer within the charity sector)

I can provide 4×4 instructor training for in-house assessors or instructors where required, and I am more than happy to offer advice, guidance and assistance to anyone looking to become an instructor, or who requires staff or organisation members to become qualified as instructors under any of the national certification schemes.

In-house 4×4 Instructor Course/Assessor Training:

  • Lantra-Awards 4×4 Professional Off-Road Driving course – I deliver this over 2 days to candidate instructors and use both permanent 4wd vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender, as well as the more common selectable 2-4wd pick-up trucks.
  • Basic training skills, such as EDIP, levels of instruction or similar method of training candidates in new skill aquisition – can be omitted for clients only requiring assessor training, to avoid the ADI registration requirement
  • Assessment, fault finding, analysis and remedial action
  • Session planning, site risk assessment and criteria based training assessment

Potential candidates for 4×4 Instructor courses will be expected to have extensive experience in off-road vehicles and environments, and an excellent all-round knowledge of transmissions, differentials, diff-locks and vehicle equipment. We would also anticipate candidates having excellent communication skills and training or supervising experience, preferably with formal training in instruction/assessment.

I have helped off-road experienced ADIs to become Lantra-Awards instructors, and trained instructors working within the emergency services, national and international organisations and companies.

If you want to become a 4×4 instructor, or are already an ADI and want to bring your off-road experience into your career, I would love to hear from you:

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